(WJZY) – November skies will bring a bright spot to 2020 — actually, we could see about 10 to 15 bright spots an hour overnight Monday into Tuesday as the annual Leonid meteor shower peaks above the United States.
“The annual Leonids [meteor shower], caused by Earth passing harmlessly through the debris left by comet Tempel-Tuttle, peaks in the pre-dawn hours tomorrow,” the NASA Solar System account tweeted Monday.
The event should be widely visible across much of the United States beginning around midnight, likely sending at least a dozen flares of light across the sky each hour.
In 2019, the view of the shower was hindered for many by the light of the moon. This year, a thin, crescent moon will only be 5% illuminated, making it easier to see the meteors. Below is a video of the 2019 display.
The forecast calls for clear skies across much of the United States, with the most likely spots for rainfall near the Canadian border.
While 15 visible showers an hour is a lot of activity, this year’s shower will be tame compared to those from 2001 and 2002, when thousands were visible, according Space.com.
The National Weather Service’s Miami office offers some tips on viewing, suggesting that watchers should give themselves at least an hour to monitor the skies. Your eyes will be adjusting for the first 20 to 30 minutes. Positioning yourself away from city lights will also make for darker skies. NWS suggests the most active period will be 2 a.m. to dawn.
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